Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Bobak's Polish Buffet

When I was younger and lived at my parent's we used to go out to a Polish food buffet on special occasions. I'm 1/4 Polish and 1/4 Czech, so the stuff is in my blood and always enjoyed by much of my father's side of the family. Recently a new grocery store opened in the long closed, former Eagle grocery store a few miles form my house. It's called Bobak's Meat and Sausage Company, and is a Polish ethnic grocery store. They have a buffet restaurant in the corner of the store. My birthday was last week and my wife let me take the family to eat there as my dinner out. Then my parents wanted to take our family out for my birthday as well and I pushed my luck with the wife and we went back.

They had all the traditional things you would expect on a Polish buffet: potato pancakes, perogi, thickened kraut with bits of carrot and sausage, mixed vegetables in butter, blintzes, dumplings and lots of sauces and gravies. There was also a decently stocked salad bar that included pickled items, cheeses and lots of fresh fruit. The desert bar was stocked with cookies, candies, hand made cakes and tarts. But, the absolute best part were the large selection of meat dishes.

When we went on Sunday the price was higher, $14.95 a person plus drinks. They had extra food available at a carving station with prime rib and roast pork tenderloin as well as chilled cocktail shrimp. The second time was a Saturday night and was about 1/3 cheaper but only had the base selection of meat dishes. Not that it's a bad thing...

I'll try to remember what was there by imagining I'm walking through the buffet line. I sampled just about everything and it was all average or very good. There was: smoked polish sausage in peppers and onions, fresh polish made with chicken in a dill cream sauce, Italian sausage in stewed tomatoes, breaded pork cutlets with mushroom gravy, kebabs with chicken onion pepper and bacon fat cabbage rolls both the kind with rice and tomato sauce and the kind with barley and a cream sauce, blood and barley sausage, fried shrimp, lamb in brown gravy, pork stew, smoked butt/hocks, boiled egg wrapped in chicken with a dill gravy, beef rolls wrapped around a pickle, corned beef slices in thickened juices, barbequed pork ribs, barbeque chicken and ground meat filled dumpling balls. Some items were there both nights, but my list includes items that were only there one night or the other.

My favorites were the lamb, which was very tender, the chicken polish sausage which had a perfect gravy and the breaded pork cutlets with mushroom gravy. I did also munch through several cabbage rolls and thirds on kraut.

Finally, on Saturday night that had a chef making short order pasta dishes and crepes. The wife had a chocolate and whipped cream crepe and my father had a sweet cheese crepe. They both enjoyed the freshly prepared deserts tremendously.

So, if you're stuck in the western or southwestern suburbs of Chicago (Naperville) and enjoy Polish or other eastern European food I can definitely recommend Bobak's. I went home stuffed to the gills and happy reminiscing about my childhood gorge-fests. Hopefully I can convince the wife, who doesn't like the cuisine, to let me go back a couple times a year.


Blogger Livinia said...

You look like my old summer boyfriend Robert, all Polish, slight Polish/French/Brooklyn accent - lookie like you.

Your posts make me hungry.

1:40 AM  
Blogger Ruzty said...

Heh, that picture is over 10 years old. Maybe some day I'll post a more recent one, but for now I like the menacing motorhead in B&W one from long ago.

8:29 AM  

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